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Robin Dechant

Robin is one of the founders at Kwest. On this blog, he shares insights gained from discussions with selected renewable energy experts and from working with our customers towards operational excellence.
Project management

Four challenges faced by solar companies when using traditional CRM software

Traditional customer relationship management software (CRM software) is designed to manage sales teams, execute marketing automation. CRM software helps sales teams to nurture leads through the opportunity stages of the sales pipeline. However, when it comes to managing solar projects, traditional CRM software is not designed to perform beyond the sales process for solar companies. 

Typically, solar companies are facing at least four challenges when using traditional CRM software to manage their installations:

  • Cumbersome collaboration 
  • Limited scalability
  • Lack of automation
  • Lack of customization

Cumbersome collaboration

When the customer is ready for an on-site visit, all of that data should be seamlessly transitioned to a solar project management tool. That tool needs to be designed to handle the dataflow and workflow complexity experienced in the solar installation. The challenges faced by solar companies when using traditional CRM software include the lack of a seamless mobile experience. A big challenge often is the inability to manage in-context communication and task management between the office and field teams. As solar installations become more complex, efficient coordination between field teams and project managers is essential for streamlined operations. 

Limited scalability

While traditional CRM software is great for office work, they are not optimized to manage hundreds of installations at the same time. Project managers need to get visibility across all of their installations and all important project information with a click of a button. That’s rarely possible with traditional CRM software that are designed for sales related data.

Lack of automation

While the CRM is the system of record for your customer data, it is usually not a great place to store all relevant data from your installations. The typical solar installation process begins with an assessment of the project site. This requires the manual entry of customer data, site data, document gathering, and photo collection. The communication between the project manager, sales team, and installers is crucial. However, disjointed processes often leads to inefficiency and missing data. Harmonized data and process standardization are key though to automate workflows. So you need a system that can combine different data sources to then automate workflows.

Lack of customization

Even though solar installations are fairly standardized, we’ve learned that different solar companies are taking a different approach at managing their installations. That’s why it is important for every project manager to customize workflows and adjust processes exactly to their needs. Most CRM software are hard to customize and processes cannot be changed without the need of engineering. This hinders project managers in adjusting processes quickly to their needs and can hinder growth.

Cumbersome collaboration, limited scalability, and a lack of automation and customization are challenges faced by solar companies when using traditional CRM software. In the solar industry, a CRM should be used for what it is best at: managing the sales funnel and marketing campaigns. Most of our solar customers are typically using either Hubspot or Salesforce as their CRM software. 

If you want to scale your solar business, investing in a specifically designed solar project management solution is a smart choice. By doing so, you can streamline your operations, reduce inefficiencies, and increase your overall productivity. If this sounds interesting, then schedule a call with us.

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